June 12, 2018
(1:30 p.m. BST) -- The first episode of the fourth series (which aired last Friday) of "Cruising With Jane McDonald" pulled in an average of 1.9 million viewers -- up by 200,000 compared to the start of the last series.
Episode one, which saw Jane exploring Australia and New Zealand onboard Holland America Line's Noordam, also grabbed 10.8 per cent of the total viewing audience that evening -- again up on the BAFTA Award-winning third series.
Jane took some time out to answer a few questions about her highlights from the current series -- and what it meant to her to win that BAFTA.
Q: How does it feel to be a BAFTA winner?
A: Oh my goodness, incredible is the word. But like I said during my speech, I am so pleased that I’m sharing it with the channel, Ben Frow and Greg Barnett. We are all BAFTA winners; it’s a joint win! So pleased, as it’s very special for us all.
Q: Describe how you felt the moment you heard it being announced.
A: Disbelief. I thought they'd made a mistake! I did not think we were in with a chance, and thank goodness for my executive producer for writing the speech. I didn't even look at it, as I thought there’s no point even reading it. That's why I was in such a fluster! The reaction was incredible from the audience, people cheering and being so lovely. Afterward I had so many coming up to me who said 'we love your show!'
Q: The series is a bit different this time [two ships, two episodes on each]; what can viewers expect?
A: Oh my goodness, this time we had an absolute blast. I don’t know whether it was the company or I that I just know what I'm doing now, but we just never stopped laughing from start to finish. Things kept happening on the way which we weren't expecting, which just made the series. It's just taking a camera crew and thinking 'let’s make a show!' For example, the sky tower in Auckland was something I'll never forget. I thought I was going up for a little wander, but I ended up jumping off it! I was screaming at the top of my lungs, but it was the best thing ever. Walking up the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the views were breathtaking. New Zealand was just the best trip I've ever been on. It was sensational. Every view was like being in 'Avatar,' and you just can't imagine it being real.
Q: What do you think is so special about the series?
A: I think because you see it through my eyes, that's the difference. It's not a normal travel show. I do get very excited about things that are beautiful about the world, and as there is so much doom and gloom, it's good to step back and see how beautiful it really is. Also, I'm from a working-class background, and now I'm going to places I could only ever dream of. I get so excited because I've never forgotten where I've come from. I want to take everyone with me and show them the beautiful places.
Q: What was your favourite moment from the new series?
A: I went to a place in New Zealand called Lanarch Castle. It was unbelievable. Turned out everyone was wearing my family tartan! So I felt very at home there. Plus, at one point we found this secluded balcony with my producer -- nobody else was there. And we were both astounded at the beauty of the view. That was the most breathtaking for me.
Q: Is there anywhere else you are dying to travel to for the show?
A: Everywhere! There are so many that I haven't been to, including India, which would be amazing.
Q: What are your three cruising essentials?
A: My own tea bags, and a kettle, nude-coloured pants and photographs of my partner Ed and my mum.
Q: What's your favourite type of cruise?
A: All of them! I like everything! I love the serenity of a river cruise; it's so peaceful. You can sail right into every city. But I love the open ocean as well. I love all of it! That’s why I'm the perfect person to do this programme.
Q: What's next for you?
A: Well it's all go for me at the moment. I'm filming a brand-new series of 'Jane McDonald and Friends,' which is going out in the summer, and then I'm off on my mammoth 20th anniversary tour all over the country.
• Episode Two of "Cruising with Jane McDonald" airs this Friday, June 15, on Channel 5 at 9 p.m.
--By Adam Coulter, Managing Editor, U.K.